HVAC Issues That Can Cause Hot and Cold Spots in the Home

Uneven Heating in Burbank, CA

Uneven heating and cooling is one of the more common HVAC issues. When you run your furnace or air conditioner, you obviously expect every room in the house to be at the same temperature. However, there are numerous potential HVAC issues that can make this nearly impossible. As a result, you’ll end up with some rooms that are sweltering hot or freezing cold. When this happens, it is important that you seek help from an experienced HVAC professional in order to understand the underlying cause of your uneven heating and how best to remedy the situation.

Furnace or Air Conditioner Is Too Small

If you notice that certain rooms or areas in your house never seem to stay at your desired temperature, it could be that your furnace or air conditioner is too small for your home. Alternatively, it may be that your furnace or AC unit is large enough but not efficient enough. In either case, the result is that your HVAC system will struggle to provide adequate heat or cooling for the entire house. If you mostly only notice the hot and cold spots in your home when running your furnace and not your AC or vice versa, this is a good sign that that particular unit isn’t adequately sized.

Several different factors go into determining the appropriately sized furnace or air conditioner, including the local climate and the total square footage of your house. There are also other factors that should be taken into account, such as how tall your ceilings are and how much sun or shade your house gets. Finally, it is also important to look at the efficiency rating of your unit.

The local climate is obviously an essential factor as this will help determine how often you need to run your furnace or air conditioner and how much heat or cooling it needs to put out. In climates like those in Southern California that typically experience milder winters, your furnace won’t need to produce as much heat per square foot as it would if you lived somewhere with bitterly cold winters.

On the other hand, the hot summers in SoCal mean that you’ll need a more powerful air conditioner than someone who lives further north. The majority of California is located within climate zone 2. This is important to know since the climate zone determines how many BTUs (British thermal units) your furnace or air conditioner needs to produce per square foot to properly heat or cool your home.

You can easily find numerous charts online that show approximately how many BTUs your furnace should be or how many tons your AC unit should be based on the square footage of your house. Nonetheless, determining the correct size of furnace or AC does involve some math and taking into account various factors. For this reason, this is something that is usually best left to the professionals.

For instance, a chart might show that you need a furnace that produces 100,000 BTUs of heat based on the size of your home. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that just any 100,000 BTU furnace will do as you will also need to take into account the furnace’s efficiency rating. For example, a 100,000 BTU furnace with an 80% efficiency rating will actually only produce 80,000 BTUs, which means you would need either a larger BTU furnace or one with a higher efficiency rating.

HVAC System Is in Need of Maintenance or Repair

If the uneven heating or cooling in your home is a relatively recent occurrence, this could be a sign that your furnace or air conditioner isn’t working properly and needs to be repaired or possibly replaced. Scheduling a yearly tune-up for your heating and cooling systems is one of the best ways to avoid this potential problem. Regular maintenance can be key in identifying any issues your furnace or AC may have and also to preventing issues from arising in the first place.

Nonetheless, even the most comprehensive maintenance plan may not be able to prevent all problems. Therefore, if you’ve recently noticed that your heating or cooling system isn’t working as well as it used to, it’s always a good idea to contact a professional HVAC company to have your system inspected.

Even minor issues can have a major effect on the overall efficiency of your heating or cooling system. When this happens, the result is that your furnace or air conditioner will have to work much harder and may not be able to keep up when the weather outside is extremely hot or cold. As a result, the rooms furthest away from the furnace or AC unit may not receive adequate heating or cooling. Sometimes, all it takes is something as seemingly small as a dirty or clogged air filter to drastically decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system and thus result in uneven heating or cooling.

Ductwork Is Leaking, Poorly Designed, or Not Well Insulated

Uneven heating problems may also be related to your home’s ductwork. Leaking or damaged ducts can allow much of the hot or cool air to escape. When this happens, it can drastically decrease the efficiency of your system and make it impossible for your blower fan to properly circulate air throughout every room in your home. As a result, the rooms near the ends of your HVAC system will likely be much hotter or colder than the rest of the home. Should this be the case, the problem can usually be solved easily by having your ducts inspected and any leaks sealed.

Poorly designed ductwork can also create the same issues. Similarly, these same problems can arise if your ductwork isn’t well insulated. This can especially be a problem if your ductwork is exposed in a colder or warmer area such as the basement or attic. For these reasons, it is also a good idea to have your ducts inspected should your home have problems with uneven heating or cooling.

Improper Zone Control or Lack Thereof

If your home is especially large or has multiple levels, the hot and cold spots may also be a sign that you need a zone control system. This type of system uses dampers in the ductwork to separate the home into specific zones, which then allows you to independently control the temperature for each zone. In essence, a zoning system enables you to break up your duct system into smaller parts to better direct the heating or cooling to where it is needed most.

This type of system can be a great way to reduce your energy usage since you’ll no longer need to heat or cool the entire home at one time. However, it can also help to alleviate hot and cold spots by enabling your HVAC system to direct the heating or cooling to a specific zone. A zone control system can be especially useful for multi-story homes. Since heat rises, the upper levels of your home will generally be much warmer than the basement and lower levels. A zoning system can help eliminate this problem by allowing you to set a specific temperature for each level of the home instead of having to control the temperature for the entire home from only one thermostat.

If you are suffering from uneven heating and cooling in your Burbank home, Air Max HVAC offers numerous solutions that may be able to help. We specialize in all types of furnace and air conditioning repair, maintenance, and installation. Our experienced team also has experience with home energy audits and various solutions to help improve your indoor air quality. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.